The Stone Creek Stompers: This Year’s Must Hear Band
Taking the stage at this year’s Lemon Lily Festival is a bluegrass band with some local roots who collectively have some impressive credits. The Stone Creek Stompers are made up of Idyllwild resident Sandii Castleberry – guitar, vocals, harmonica; John Penn of La Quinta – vocals, banjo and mandolin; Bobby Furgo – fiddle, from Yucca Valley; and bassist Gene Libbea from Anza.
Sandii has lived in Idyllwild since 2003, and has been an Idyllwild Concerts in the Park opening act every year since her arrival. She played for 4 years for the Coachella Stage Coach Music Festival family stage, and has been a performing and workshop artist for Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County since 1998. She is also a founding member of “Hot Flash” a popular folk bluegrass band fronted by three women, and teaches music to children at the Idyllwild Arts Summer program.
In the 1950’s, Singer/songwriter and Blue Night Recording Artist John Penn spent his youth in in Idyllwild and Pine Cove. His grandparents owned a home in Stone Creek where he spent many summers. He also hung out during ISOMATA’s early years catching workshops by Sam Hinton and Pete Seeger. John’s song “Moonlight Motor Inn” inspired by his grandfather’s defunct motel (where Alhatti Conference Center now resides), is a bluegrass standard. John spent the early 1970’s jamming and performing with upcoming country folk-rock legends such as Linda Rondstadt and Emmy Lou Harris.
Yucca Valley violinist/fiddlist Bobby Furgo is a much sought after musician in the Coachella Valley. He has an extensive touring background including such names as Leonard Cohen, and recording credits with Nancy Sinatra, Amy LaVere and Pat Boone. He plays weekly at popular hang-out Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, and at the 29 Palms Inn.
Gene Libbea spent the 1990’s playing stand-up bass with Grammy award-winning band “Nashville Bluegrass Band.” He spent many years on the road as a touring bluegrass musician before retiring to Anza, where he presently makes his home.
Catch the Stone Creek Stompers on Saturday, July 9th from noon to 4 p.m. at the Nature Center.